Is ceramic material biodegradable? 

The article will discuss if ceramic material is biodegradable or not. Other topics covered will include:

  • Is ceramic eco-friendly?
  • Can you recycle ceramic?
  • Can you upcycle ceramic?
  • How to dispose of ceramic?
  • How to reuse ceramic?
  • Can you compost ceramic?
  • How long do ceramic tiles take to decompose?

Is ceramic material biodegradable?

No, the ceramic material is not biodegradable because they do not contain the essential natural or organic inside that the microbes can process. 

Biodegradation is the breakdown caused by the microbes in a way that waste is converted into simpler material that can become a part of nature again. However, the microbes can only break down material that is both natural and organic. 

Ceramic material is made from natural materials such as clay, sand, and water. It may be wondered if ceramic material is natural, why can they not degrade? The simplest answer is that ceramic material can not biodegrade because it is natural but inorganic, while microbes can only digest organic material under natural circumstances. 

How long does ceramic material take to decompose?

Since we have said that ceramic material can not be degraded by microbes, let us also discuss how long ceramic material takes to decompose. 

When it comes to that, studies assert that the decomposition time for ceramic time is rather flabbergasting. 

Ceramic material may take more than 10,000 years to degrade. This is ten times more than plastic. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that disposing of ceramic material is not that eco-friendly after all, as ceramic material will take almost forever to degrade and decompose. 

Can you compost ceramic material?

You can not compost ceramic material despite it being natural. The primary reason behind it is that composting is done to improve and increase the organic content of the soil. 

However, the essential organic inside is missing when it comes to ceramic material as it has been established that ceramic material is inorganic in nature. Therefore, the ceramic material can not be composted despite being natural. 

How to properly dispose of ceramic material?

When ceramic materials are disposed of recklessly, they may be ignored in a landfill and since tiles are non-biodegradable, they may remain there for many years. 

When this happens, the waste problem (which is already very exacerbated) gets worse which deepens the notion of environmental problems that we have that include global warming, the greenhouse effect, and climate change– to name a few. 

Therefore, we need to explore ways through which we can avoid this situation and properly utilise the ceramic material. Some of the ways that you can explore are:

Reusing ceramic material

It may appear absurd but it is actually possible to reuse ceramic material. Many times, people are too quick to judge and therefore, they are unable to get full from their ceramic material.

The materials mostly made from ceramic material include clay, bricks, glass, tiles and cement. Let us take the example of ceramic tiles. The tiles, even damaged, can be reused for other applications such as decorative purposes or cutting cleaner portions of ceramic tiles.  

In many cases, ceramic materials are not that damaged as such that they can not be used. There are various creative ways to explore such as ceramic material that may be reused in other parts of the house. 

You may also get a bit creative and paint the cracks in a way to turn them into art. Not only will this improve the aesthetic touch in your house but it will also help the environment. 

Repurposing ceramic material

Upcycling ceramic material is another efficient way to make sure that the ceramic material does not end up in a landfill and remains there for several years. 

When it comes to upcycling, there are actually no limits to your creativity. You may use the ceramic material for a plethora of uses such as arts, and crafts, decorative purposes, and increasing the aesthetic sense of your home. The vibrant and sober colours of the ceramic tiles are always a great addition if used accordingly. 

Also, you can also consider painting the ceramic material. This way, you can reuse them as tiles too but with a modified look of course. 


The recycling of ceramic material is another great way to help the environment because when tiles are recycled, they are not needed to be processed from a new state. This means that there are benefits such as resource conservation, energy conservation, and less waste. 

However, many people wonder if you can actually recycle ceramic material. Yes, you can but not every time and everywhere. There are certain ceramic materials such as tiles et cetera that may not be accepted in every recycling facility. 

It is a possibility that some recycling centres would not accept tiles for recycling because some recycling machinery may not be able to handle them. For example, let us take pottery for instance. Pottery takes very high temperatures to melt and this may weaken other recyclable materials. 

Therefore, you need to check on and confirm with your local recycling centre/program to see if they accept ceramic material. If they do not, then you may need to contact third-party recycling ventures such as Terracycle. 

Getting some remuneration

You can also consider either selling the ceramic material as many construction shops can put the tiles to good use. Chances are that you may get a decent remuneration for your ceramic material.  

If the ceramic material is in good shape and quality, it is a very good idea to get some remuneration for your ceramic material and this will also ensure that the material is utilised instead of being in landfills for thousands of years. 

However, if selling is not an option, you can donate it. This way, you will ensure that the tiles are put to good use and utilised efficiently instead of ending up in landfills; a noble way to do that!

The final verdict: Is ceramic eco-friendly? (5 reasons why ceramic is eco-friendly) 

Let us converge on the final verdict which is whether ceramic material is eco-friendly or not. It can be said that ceramic material is eco-friendly because:

  • It is made from natural materials
  • It is durable 
  • It can last long if cared for properly 
  • It can be repurposed even after being damaged 
  • The production and handling of ceramics is not that degradative as compared to their counterparts like metals or plastics 

However, the factors that advocate otherwise include:

  • Ceramic material is not biodegradable 
  • You can not compost ceramic material 
  • Ceramic material is hard to recycle 


It is concluded that ceramic material is not biodegradable. It is natural but not organic which makes it non-biodegradable. 

The article discussed various ways by which ceramic material could be utilised that included recycling, upcycling, donation, sale, and reuse. 

The article also addressed some eminent associated questions such as the composting aspect and how long ceramic tiles take to degrade and importantly, is ceramic material eco-friendly or not.  


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